Leni urges probe into Amnesty report on ‘PNP paid killers’
Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday called for a thorough probe into a report of London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was paying officers and assassins to kill drug suspects under President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
In her first press briefing since her resignation from the Duterte Cabinet last year, Robredo said the accusations in the AI report that tagged the spate of drug-related killings in the country as “systematic, planned, and organized” were very serious.
“Seryosong accusation ‘yun. Kung totoong binabayaran ‘yung police for every killing that is done, gustong sabihin talagang extrajudicial killings ay state-sanctioned. Very serious accusation iyon but until wala pang formal investigation na ginagawa, it remains an accusation,” Robredo told members of the media.
(It’s a serious accusation. If it’s true that the police are paid for every killing that is done, it could mean that the extrajudicial killings are state-sanctioned. It’s a very serious accusation but until there is no formal investigation yet, that remains an accusation.)
“Sana maging masusi ang imbestigasyon na gagawin kasi mahalaga na we get to the bottom of this, kasi tingin ko ‘pag hindi natin na-resolve ang isyu na ito, baka magtuloy-tuloy,” she added, referring to the hearing of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs which was expected to tackle the report.
(I hope the investigation will be thorough because it’s important that we get to the bottom of this. Because if we don’t resolve this issue, it could continue.)
The AI reported that their group was able to talk to two confessed killers who claimed they were regularly paid by an active-duty policeman P5,000 to kill an alleged drug user and P10,000 to P15,000 to kill an alleged drug pusher. “Acting on orders from the very top, policemen and unknown killers have been targeting anybody remotely suspected of using or selling drugs,” said Rawya Rageh, a senior crisis adviser for Amnesty.
Asked about the remarks of some of Duterte’s men dismissing such reports as part of an alleged “conspiracy” to destabilize the President, Robredo said the government has the right to defend itself but it should also shed light on accusations.
“Maraming nangyaring hindi maganda in the past seven months, and I think ang pinakamalaking proof of this is mayroon tayong more than 7,000 na tao killed. Iyong tanong lang natin, mayroon bang serious attempt iyong gobyerno to find out kung sino ang mga salarin? Mayroon bang serious attempt na panagutin kung sino man iyong salarin sa mga pagpatay?” Robredo said.
(There were many negative things that have happened in the past 7 month and I think the biggest proof of this is we have more than 7,000 people killed. Our question is, is there a serious attempt from the government to find out the culprits? Is there a serious attempt to punish the suspects behinf the killings?)
“Kaya tingin ko, para maalis iyong mga agam-agam ng tao, kailangang ipakita ng ating pamamahalaan na seryoso siya para alamin kung ano talaga iyong katotohanan sa likod nitong mga pagpapatay at kung ano man iyong katotohanan, ang lahat ng salarin ay kailangang parusahan,” the Vice President added.
(I think that to ease the doubts, the administration needs to show that they’re serious in finding out the truth behind the killings and whatever the truth is, all the culprits need to be punished.)
As of Feb. 6, the Duterte government’s antinarcotics campaign has claimed about 2,500 lives in police operations, while another 3,500 to 4,000 have been classified as deaths under investigation. JE/rga